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Buccaneers 'Lukewarm' on Ndamukong Suh, 'Strong Possibility' Rob Gronkowski is Back

The Athletic's beat writer in Tampa weighs in on the status of two key free agents.

Will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have tight end Rob Gronkowski and defensive lineman, Ndamukong Suh, back on the roster in 2022? 

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At one point or another, both men seemed to be sure things, set to come back and try to get another championship ride in with quarterback Tom Brady and the Bucs. 

Now? The odds seem lower than before, which has a lot of outsiders feeling uneasy as the season crawls closer and closer. 

The good news is, Gronk still seems likely to return, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic who wrote it was a "strong possibility" when responding to a question in his recent mailbag column. 

When it came to Suh, however, the tone changed. 

"The Bucs were lukewarm to defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh even before they used their top draft pick on a player at his position in Logan Hall," Auman wrote. "To sign him now would be to actively chip into Hall’s role before they’ve even seen what he can do. Bucs GM Jason Licht said he wasn’t shutting the door on signing Suh, but then said, “there are a lot of injuries that happen throughout the year,” suggesting he might only be an option in case of a serious injury."

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Auman continued on that while Tampa Bay certainly wants to see what their rookie defensive lineman from Houston has to offer, adding a veteran addition to the position group is still something that makes sense from a roster construction standpoint. 

From the outside looking in, the issue at hand would appear to be more about money than anything. 

Last we saw Suh on the field he was still capable of impacting the game the way teams like the Buccaneers would find attractive, but his better days are certainly behind him. 

During the offseason, Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht talked about wanting to get a more consistent pass rush from his defensive line in order to help facilitate better opportunities for his edge rushers, and the defense as a whole. 

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Currently, the Buccaneers don't have much room to work with considering the salary cap, and it's clear that if Suh is going to return it'll have to be well below the $9 million rate he got in 2021. 

For more on this and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers check out James Yarcho and David Harrison on the Locked On Bucs Podcast!